Who Won the Battle of Dazar'alor and Why Did the Alliance Attack?
The Battle of Dazar'alor raid has been fully cleared, with losses on both Horde and Alliance sides. Which side emerged at the victor? Does the outcome of the battle change the war at all?
The following article examines the biggest winners and losers across both factions, but if you're not interested in lore and just want information on how to kill the bosses, check out our
Battle of Dazar'alor Boss Guides
. This article is the third in a series analyzing the Battle of Dazar'alor--earlier we analyzed the
Siege of Dazar'alor Cinematic
Spoilers if you haven't cleared the raid.
Horde and the Zandalari
On the Horde side, the most obvious loss is the death of Rastakhan, the king of the Zandalari. This caps off a period of defeat and instability for the Zandalari--Zul orchestrates a coup against Rastakhan, then Rezan dies in the process of reclaiming the empire, then the final seal to Uldir is blasted open by Mythrax.
The Zandalari also fall for the Alliance's military trick set up earlier in the 8.0 war campaign, and in spite of having naval superiority over the Alliance fleet, fall victim to Mekkatorque's explosives, as seen in the opening raid cinematic.
At the end of the battle, we're left with the King of the Zandalari slain and the fleet significantly weakened. The Horde originally expressed interest in working with the Zandalari, back at the start of Battle for Azeroth, to gain control of their powerful fleet.
As we covered in the
Rastakhan Defeat Cinematic Analysis
, Zandalar will likely be better off with Talanji in charge. She's more eager to form a partnership with the Horde and is quick to sense threats and injustices to her people. She is poised to be a stronger leader than Rastakhan, willing to try new things so the Zandalari Empire endures instead of remaining in the past.
The Zandalari also didn't lose any territory in this attack. The Alliance came in, killed Rastakhan, and left the city. By provoking an attack against the Zandalari, the Alliance have pushed the Zandalari closer to the Horde, setting up new allegiances.
The Alliance don't yet realize it, but
Ashvane has escaped from prison
with the help of the Horde. The act of freeing Ashvane undoes some of the progress Jaina made in her Boralus questline, in which Ashvane was defeated without any bloodshed, surrounded by the Kul Tiras fleet. Ashvane wants to overthrow the Proudmoore family, and her love for Azerite makes her a good partner for Sylvanas. As Ashvane met her defeat at the hands of the Kul Tiras fleet, she may be willing to also team up with Azshara, who stole the fleet in the first place and likely wants it back.
Alliance and Kul Tiras
The largest advantage the Alliance gained from the attack was naval superiority. With the gain of the Kul Tiras fleet, and destruction of part of the Zandalari fleet, the Alliance now have a significant naval advantage over the Horde. The need for urgency in "A Good War" to attack Teldrassil was due to Sylvanas wanting to attack before the Alliance could build up their navy again.
However, while the the Alliance won the battle, what was the cost? While the Alliance defeated Rastakhan, they did not gain any territory or make new allies. In the process of taking on their daring mission, they suffered great losses--while still lacking a plan to handle Sylvanas. To gain naval superiority, they could have just blown up the ships in the Alliance intro cinematic, without setting foot on the shore.
The first major loss for the Alliance is Grong, a gorilla who agreed to sacrifice his intelligence in order to gain extreme strength in the
Alliance War Campaign
. He's ultimately defeated by the Horde in the raid...and then raised by Bwonsamdi as a zombie-gorilla and forced to fight the Alliance. While Grong was a minor character added during the latest War Campaign, many players found his story tragic and touching.
The Alliance have a pretty easy go of it reaching King Rastakhan, but face unexpected difficulties retreating. It seems that the Horde forces may have returned to Zandalar a touch too early. It's hard to say what their motives were besides sowing chaos and hoping to weaken the Zandalari. They succeeded in destroying the navy, but left Zandalar with a stronger leader--Talanji.
Going back to the retreat, the combined Zandalari and Horde forces were strong enough to leave Mekkatorque in a semi-permanent coma and Jaina seriously wounded. While Mekkatorque played a smaller role in past expansions, now in Battle for Azeroth he's been indispensable for the Alliance with his ingenious contraptions that blew up the Zandalari navy, helped turn the tide of battle at Lordaeron, among other things. With his incapacitation, the Alliance has lost a large amount of engineering knowledge, with nobody poised to fill his leadership role.
Jaina throughout Battle for Azeroth has been untouchable, whether she's flying a ghost ship over Lordaeron or teleporting the Kul Tiras fleet to Boralus. However, there are some things that are too much for one mage to handle. We saw hints of this in the opening Dazar'alor cinematic, as Jaina impressively blocked some Zandalari ballistae attacks, but was unable to block every single one from damaging her ship. Now, at the end of the Battle of Dazar'alor, she puts up a strong fight but ultimately the combined forces of the Zandalari and Horde are too much for her, so she retreats.
Fighting the War, Not the Battle
As we look at the overall war, several questions still remain. What is the Alliance's plan when it comes to dealing with Sylvanas? Why are they surprised the Zandalari joined the Horde?
What is their plan with Darkshore?
Currently the Night Elf leadership is not present for the Battle of Dazar'alor, presumably still fighting to reclaim Darkshore. However, Nathanos is present at the Battle of Dazar'alor and he was also present for the start of the Darkshore Warfront. The last time we saw Tyrande, she rejected Anduin's call for unity and left to take Darkshore without much Alliance help--by herself, if need be. Even if Anduin declares the Battle of Dazar'alor to be a victory, the Night Elves and Worgen want vengeance and closure for the atrocities of Teldrassil.
What is their plan when it comes to dealing with Sylvanas?
Sylvanas doesn't play by the rules, as Anduin should have learned at Lordaeron. At the end of that battle, he hoped Sylvanas would declare defeat and agree to a negotiation. Instead, she lured all the Alliance leaders into a trap, blowing up the throne room and surrounding them with blight.
As Battle for Azeroth has continued, Sylvanas has demonstrated again and again she does not follow concepts of honor. In Patch 8.1, she specifically ordered Nathanos to raise Delaryn Summermoon, the elf whose words stung Sylvanas at Teldrassil. Following the events of Dazar'alor, on the 8.1.5. PTR we've seen her take things in
more extreme directions
as the stakes are raised after losing the battle.
Sylvanas does not take losing easily, and with her first major defeat of Battle for Azeroth, she'll likely stop at nothing to gain control. It's hard to imagine a situation in which Anduin gets the Horde to easily surrender.
What is their plan towards healing old tensions?
Patch 8.1.5 has the following datamined quote from Anduin:
We are so close to ending this conflict and forging a lasting peace. But if Sylvanas uncovers some new weapon that allows her to keep fighting...
However, with so much civil unrest, it's not clear a formal surrender would amount to much, In addition to the Night Elves and Worgen upset over Darkshore, those loyal to Sylvanas would remain on the Horde side. Plus the Void Elves and Alleria have split from the Blood Elves of Silvermoon, the Nightborne have rejected the assistance of the Night Elves in favor of the Blood Elves, the Mag'har Orcs are inclined to hate the Draenei due to the events of AU Draenor...the list goes on.
How do the Zandalari fit into the Alliance's plan?
The Alliance, unaware of Bwonsamdi's deal with Talanji, may have figured that the Zandalari Empire was weakened due to the events of Patch 8.0 and therefore an easy target. Perhaps they would surrender to the Alliance after the loss of their navy, or if they fought bravely and lost their king, they'd be of little value to the Horde. However, they did not count on Talanji being a strong ruler, nor one backed by the loa of death, Bwonsamdi. Now in a world where the Alliance
to completely win the battle against the Horde, it's hard to picture the Zandalari accepting Alliance rule especially after the invasion of their city and death of their king. While their navy may have been lost, they are an ancient empire with influence among many other troll tribes and the loa.
Why Did We Fight in Dazar'alor
The main purpose of Dazar'alor may have been to destroy the Zandalari fleet, regaining Alliance superiority over the seas. In the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, the Horde were able to attack Teldrassil so effectively precisely because the Alliance fleet was weakened after Legion, without ships to spare after sending most to investigate the fake threat in Silithus.
“The Alliance’s navy is still their weak point. Ours could catch theirs by surprise. Maybe our fleet could take the docks. But we wouldn’t take the city.”
The Horde’s fleet had been battered, too. Even if they could overwhelm the Alliance fleet—debatable at best—they would still have the same problem as a land‐based approach: not enough ships to transport a suitable ground force to take and hold the city. Any landing assault in Stormwind would fail.
At the start of Battle for Azeroth, the Alliance pursued Kul Tiras while the Horde pursued the Zandalari both for the same reason--to gain naval resources. Now, the Zandalari fleet suffers a setback while the Kul Tiras fleet is loyal to the Alliance.
However, the Zandalari fleet was significantly weakened before the Alliance forces set foot on Dazar'alor. Mekkatorque blew up many ships with his special Gnomish Engineering device in the opening cinematic:
Here's where it gets interesting, as Anduin may have had a naive view of how the city attack would go. The following dialogue is taken from the Alliance discussion after the Jaina encounter:
“My king, the attack on Zuldazar was a resounding success.”
“The Horde is losing on all fronts. The Alliance should achieve victory in a matter of weeks.”
“Yes, but at what cost? So many fallen....including Mekkatorque, whose life hangs by a thread. And I fear the death of Rastakhan will ignite a fire in the hearts of the Zandalari.”
“He was a casualty of war, Anduin. A king must be willing to sacrifice himself for his people without doubt or hesitation.”
“I know that, Genn....as well as anyone. But our mission was to drive a wedge between the Zandalari and the Horde. Instead, we may have strengthened their bond.”
“More than half the Zandalari vessels were destroyed in the initial strike, and the Horde fleet is in disarray. Their remaining ships cannot hope to stand agains the Kul Tiran navy.”
Anduin seems pretty worried about the death of Rastakhan, even though that's something he should have planned for in advance. In retrospect it's perfectly logical that attacking a city would lead the ruler to defend it to the death, as well as inspiring his loyal subjects to fight harder. Plus as both the Horde and Zandalari lost to the Alliance, they now share a common bond of hating the Alliance and goal of wanting to defeat them even more. Yet Anduin is surprised the mission didn't go as intended. Perhaps he thought there would be more time for negotiations with Rastakhan.
After we kill Conclave, Jaina says the following to the raiders: "We have struck a decisive blow against the Zandalari. Let us hope their king chooses to surrender and spare his people further harm." As Rastakhan offers no surrender, we keep clearing through the raid, attacking Rastakhan without pause.
It appears Anduin and Jaina have two different perspectives on the fight. Anduin wanted to drive a wedge between the Zandalari and the Horde, which could have been accomplished by simply destroying their navy. Jaina wanted surrender or death from Rastakhan. As Anduin is surprised by the death of Rastakhan, perhaps he did not realize this would escalate to confronting the king at all. It is hard to see how fighting through the entire city of Dazar'alor, after sinking the Zandalari fleet, would splinter the Zandalari and the Horde.
So Who Won?
The Zandalari are the obvious losers, with the loss of their king and navy. However, the Alliance may have won the battle but are no closer towards winning the war. The real winner here could be the Old Gods, forces that time and time again want us to be splintered.
Chronicle Volume 3
, we learn the Old Gods created numerous minor threats in Azeroth during Classic WoW to keep us splintered and bickering. We also learn that Cho'gall was on a mission to loosen the bonds of the Old Gods while escalating tensions between the Alliance and Horde:
He also needed to keep the Old God safe from the Alliance and the Horde. By defeating C’Thun, the two factions had proved that they were unstoppable when they put aside their differences and united.
Cho’gall would not allow them to do so again.
Both factions have come together to defeat larger-than-life threats, most recently the Burning Legion. We've put aside differences when facing the presence of three Old Gods--C'thun in Classic, Yogg in Wrath, and Y'Shaarj's essence in Mists. Now both factions are divided, unwilling to help and actively weakening each other. This would be a perfect time for the Old Gods to strike.
Patch 8.1.5 brings us face to face with N'Zoth, through a
new questline involving Xal'atath
Xal'atath: Hear me, God of the Deep! I have brought you the Opener... the Bringer of Truths... the Torch That Lights the Way!
Xal'atath: Honor our bargain...free me to find my own fate!
N'Zoth: Go... but the blade must remain... to serve my will.
While Sylvanas is pleased to learn of the Blade of the Black Empire, Anduin, Talanji, and Brother Pike are worried about the threats of the Old Gods.
All my life, I've witnessed the duality of the sea. It is both a source of life... and a force of destruction.
I became a tidesage to wield the might of the depths for the good of Kul Tiras. To learn of the great darkness lurking beneath us all this time...
The Old God wants us fractured. Divided. I fear this war has given N'Zoth exactly what he wants.
As a child, I listened to de elders tell tales of de Old Gods. I thought dey were little more than ghost stories meant to frighten us.
But now I see dat dey are all too real. An infection within de heart of Azeroth.
We defeated G'huun, but N'Zoth poses an even graver threat. In a world torn apart by war, I pray de loa will show us a way to stop him.
Another Old God awakened... this does not bode well. Our world suffers much as it is. The wound in Silithus, the war...
The Old Gods are also making their move on
MOTHER in 8.1.5
, sending Faceless Ones to attack her. Azerite may also be ominously involved, based on datamined broadcast from MOTHER in 8.1.5, in which she states that the Heart of Azeroth means planetary demise is inevitable. We haven't been successful healing Azeroth through collecting tons of Azerite, instead using it to power our war machines and furthering strife.
Greetings once again, Heart of Azeroth wielder.
Your decontamination of Uldir is acknowledged and appreciated. Recommendation: continue efforts to resolve total planetary annihilation."
Presence of a Speaker indicates a high level of threat to host planet Azeroth.
That's why I've come tae talk to ye. She's dyin', and everything we've tried doesn't seem to reverse it.
Acknowledged. Heart of Azeroth detected. Activation of the Heart Protocol signifies that planetary demise is inevitable.
What do ye mean, inevitable? No, I don't accept that. There has to be something we can do!
In order to research solutions to planetary demise, my relocation to the facility designated Chamber of Heart is recommended.
Relocate ye? How do you propose we do that?
Temporary waygate usage is advised. The necessary mechanics must be activated with the Heart of Azeroth.
Ye can do that?!
Waygate consoles verified. Please proceed promptly.
Both sides have just been weakened in the Battle of Dazar'alor, following months of conflict since the end of Legion. The Old Gods want us divided, turning on each other so we're too weak to unite and fight together.
[Enjoy an ad-free experience, unlock premium features, & support the site!]
[Show 0 Comments]
[Hide 0 Comments]
[Sign In to Post a Comment]